Boas puts the boot into Blackhawks

Monday, April 11, 2016


MICHAEL THOMPSON, Sports reporter


PNG Hunters forward Ase Boas became the hero of Port Moresby yesterday by kicking a last-minute field goal to give the Townsville Blackhawks their first defeat of the year.

Boas handed the Hunters a 11-10 win at Port Moresby’s National Football Stadium following a physical encounter that saw both teams level at 10-all with 15 minutes remaining, before the Hunters worked their way into position for Boas to slot the winner.

Leading 10-6 at halftime thanks to tries from PNG Test players Rhyse Martin and Willie Minoga, the Blackhawks were unable to put the Hunters away, and instead it was the home side that rose to the occasion, with Hunters winger Justin Olam getting the equaliser on 65 minutes.

Both teams threw everything into the pressure-cooker contest that followed, with the Blackhawks coming close to scoring on a handful of occasions.

But in a massive boost to PNG rugby league — and perhaps is a sign of the Hunters’ growing confidence as an Intrust Super Cup force — the home team retained its composure for Boas to get his field goal opportunity.

Sloppy possession affected the quality of yesterday’s Round 6 clash, which sees the Blackhawks still leading the ISC.

“It’s disappointing because we did really well with our efforts to put ourselves in an opportunity to get the win, but we let ourselves down with our execution,” Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf said.

“We just kept handing the ball over, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

“The boys did really well to stop them from scoring a few times, so our commitment in defence was there … it’s a real physical challenge every time we play them, as it is for them as well.”

The Hunters scored first through prop Adam Korave on 16 minutes and kept the pressure on Townsville for most of the half, with strong defence denying PNG a bigger buffer.

But the Blackhawks weathered the storm and remained composed despite the home crowd’s vocal presence, with Martin and Minoga landing a one-two punch just before the break.

Martin’s try came first on 32 minutes and Minoga got his four minutes later to rapturous applause from his large contingent of family and friends who made the trip south from PNG’s highlands, handing the Blackhawks a 10-6 halftime lead.

Ball control became a problem for both teams in the second half and only the one try was scored, with PNG winger Justin Olam finishing off a right edge play to score the equaliser.

The Blackhawks played without starting fullback Jahrome Hughes (back), who was replaced by Hezron Murgha, along with winger Samsen O’Neill (toe) and Moses Pangai (hamstring), who were replaced by Conor Carey and Noel Underwood respectively.

“Moses pulled up sore with his hamstring on Friday night, so that meant making a late change and a couple of blokes played out of position, but that didn’t affect us at all,” Woolf said

“We had 17 blokes out there who made some really good efforts, but we just had to be a bit smarter and better with our carries.”

Meanwhile the Blackhawks will play the Central Queensland Capras in Mount Isa across the weekend of July 23-24 as part of the QRL’s Country Week.